California Dog License

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Does California require dogs to be licensed? If you are a pet owner, then you need to be aware of the requirements at the state and local levels concerning any pets that you have in the household. This includes requirements for vaccinations, microchipping, as well as whether or not you have to register your pet with any particular agency. If you have a dog, you should also be aware of how the state’s dog bite laws intersect with licensing requirements.

Licensing Requirements for Dogs

The law in California requires that every dog over the age of four months old be vaccinated against rabies and licensed properly through a local animal control or care center. What we will find is that most municipalities reinforce these state-mandated requirements in their own statutes, and they also can add in their own requirements. 

For example, Los Angeles County requires rabies vaccines and proper licensing, but they also require that dogs be spayed and neutered and microchipped. San Diego County does not require that a dog be spayed or neutered, but they charge higher licensing fees for unaltered dogs. We strongly encourage you to check your local municipal laws concerning dog ownership.

Generally, all municipalities in the state of California require that a dog have a visible licensing tag that is securely fastened to the collar or harness and worn by the dog at all times

What Happens With a Dog Bites Someone?

In the state of California, there is a strict liability dog bite law in place. This means that a dog’s owner will be held completely liable for any damages caused by their dog biting someone else, regardless of whether or not the dog has ever bitten anybody before or has ever shown a propensity for aggression. So long as the dog bite victim was on public property, lawfully on private property, and did not provoke the dog, they will be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. 

However, there is a caveat to this law. The dog’s owner will only be responsible for the injuries caused by the bite. If a dog causes another type of injury, including the dog jumping on a person, knocking them down, or scratching them, then the strict liability dog bite law will not apply. In these situations, a victim will only be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit directly against the dog owner for negligence.

Does Licensing Affect a Dog Bite Claim?

The strict liability dog bite law will apply regardless of whether or not a dog has been properly licensed with the state or local jurisdiction. If a licensed dog bites somebody, the strict liability law will apply the same as if an unlicensed dog bites somebody. Individuals who sustained dog bite injuries should be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, surgical procedures that may be necessary, physical therapy or rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

Working With a Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been bitten and injured by a dog in California, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately. A dog bite injury lawyer can examine the facts of your case and help ensure that you recover full compensation from the insurance carriers involved. Even though these are strict liability cases, it can still be hard to stand up to the insurance carriers to recover complete compensation for medical bills and lost wages.